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Alumni Association hands out annual honors

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Pat Vandiver Powell, '72, is the Hall of Fame awardee, and Dr. Karen Ash Frost, '74, is the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) Alumni Association announced this spring a variety of award winners among alumni, students and faculty.

Dr. Karen Ash Frost, '74, is the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award and Pat Vandiver Powell, '72, is the Hall of Fame awardee.

"The Alumni Association is thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Pat Powell and Karen Frost as outstanding graduates and women of the University of North Georgia," said Wendi Huguley, director of alumni relations and annual giving. "Traveling different paths, both women have led exemplary lives of leadership and have paved the way for the women following their lead to continue the work they started. We could not be more proud to acknowledge their legacy and to celebrate their accomplishments."

Frost, who earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education, spent 32 years in K-12 education serving as a teacher, instructional coach and principal, among other roles. Since her retirement from Cobb County Schools in 2014, she has used her leadership skills to engage, empower and enrich the lives of alumnae of UNG through the inception of the Women of UNG Shared Interest Group.

"Over the past several years, I have watched outstanding alumni receive this award. I never dreamed that one day, I would be a recipient. It is an incredible honor to be recognized by the UNG Alumni Association, which will always be near and dear to me," Frost said. "Being able to give back to UNG is a huge reward in itself. Getting to know and work with alumni, staff and students is such a privilege, and watching what has been accomplished makes me very proud of my alma mater."

Powell, who earned bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biology, was elected an officer of The Coca-Cola Co. and was appointed senior vice president of the Technical Division in 2000, where she was responsible for 369 associates and a $92 million budget. As the first female in the role, she led the way for other women working in science or technology to excel and to enter senior management levels of Coca-Cola.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I am so thankful that my journey began with my B.S. from UNG in 1972," Powell said. "I am very humbled by this Hall of Fame award and acknowledge that it reflects the role that UNG's faculty and staff played in my education and success.  I remain indebted to my professors in the chemistry, biology and physics departments."

In addition to the Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame, the Alumni Association awards include:

  • Distinguished Young Alumni: George Orlin, '14. Orlin, who earned a finance degree from UNG, is a product manager, entrepreneur, and management consultant. He is leading five startup businesses and along with his entrepreneurial endeavors, Orlin also oversees product and software engineering efforts for more than a dozen technology product launches.
  • Dot Strother Scholarship for legacy students (demonstrate citizenship and leadership potential): Julie Pope. She is a single mother and florist who was inspired to further her education after preparing her oldest child for college. Pope is pursuing her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in natural sciences and social sciences to further her understanding of plants by studying them on a molecular and atomic level. 
  • Paul M. Hutcherson Outstanding Student Award (one female and one male senior): Claire Allinson and John Perry IV. Allinson, a senior from Lilburn, Georgia, pursuing degrees in accounting and mathematics, is a member of UNG's Honors Program. Perry, deputy brigade commander for the Corps of Cadets, is a senior from Dawsonville, Georgia, majoring in strategic and security studies.
  • Ralph Colley Spirit of North Georgia award (overcame tremendous challenges): Capt. Hank Brady, '12. Brady was severely wounded by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and shot in the leg. He then received a traumatic brain injury from a second RPG during his medical evacuation flight to receive the definitive medical treatment he needed to survive his wounds. Brady experienced a grueling yet inspiring recovery.
  • Distinguished Professor Award: Dr. Richard Prior, department head of physics and astronomy. Prior, nationally known for his research in nuclear physics, was associated with the Triangle Universities National laboratory at Duke University as a visiting professor from 1990 to 2013. He has served his students and the profession of physics for about 40 years as a full-time faculty member.

As with most university events, Alumni Weekend festivities originally planned for April 17-19 were canceled. The Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving is working to reschedule reunions for the classes of 1960, 1975 and 1990 and the annual Awards Banquet; new dates will be released as soon as they are set.

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